Thoughts

I love how God continues to nudge me in the direction He wants me to go. As you know, if you’ve read through my blogs and watched my video blogs, it has been a journey to step out in faith and actually do the video blog. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been asking God to show me what is next. I am no longer afraid of the video blogging so I can’t help but feel there is more that He purposed when He told me to begin this process. I am absolutely certain that I am not just to do a written blog. So many times, I am overwhelmed with the whisper of the Holy Spirit that I am supposed to share and expand on my experiences with this ministry in a different way, so I have given a lot of prayer and thought as to what that would look like and what I would need to do to take the next step. Over the past few weeks, as I’ve listened to biblical teachers and surrounded myself in The Word, I’ve asked God to reveal to me more of my gifts that He has given me and how He wants to use them. I am continually reminded that my written word is given a lot of positive feedback and that through the job I do, my phone voice is deemed soothing and calming. That led me to tossing around the idea of writing out my thoughts and what I was called to share and using the video blog to get it onto my website. In thinking through that process, I recognize that I’ve had my testimony recorded before and while it was still powerful, the image of me standing there, reading what I had written, was diminished slightly by the fact that I wasn’t able to truly connect with my audience on a face to face level. When I try to take my eyes off the paper for more than a few moments at a time, I go way out in left field and start speaking through my nerves. That is not a gift that has been developed in me yet (although I feel deep within it is something He is working on!) however, what was written, and my delivery while reading, has always been something I feel God has used to move in the hearts of those who hear it. Lately, I have wondered if learning how to set up a podcast, and using that as my medium for this ministry along with my blog posts, would be the direction that God wanted to lead me.

This morning, as I was moved to do another video blog, I had so much on my heart that I wanted to say. There is so much that God pours into me that I want to share, but yet, as this morning, I feel when I start talking without having written it down, the words that I want to say, and the way that I want to say them, doesn’t come off quite the same as while they are in my head.

This makes me take pause and give the consideration that God just may be giving me confirmation and green light on the podcast idea. I know there is a story to be told, lessons to be shared, and He will get it done in the most effective way. I am excited about what this means as I continue this journey of learning and growing.

Now, to just figure out how to do a podcast 😀 Prayers are appreciated and I look forward to sharing again with you soon.

You are who you hang around with

I was taught this principal many years ago in my makeup business and it has stuck with me throughout the years.  It is such a true statement. As I look back during the seasons of my life, and the people that I let into my circle of influence on each part of the journey, I can see this truth in action.

For many years, my life was filled with chaos and drama and coming to recognize that I chose to be around people who suffered with the same was a game changer for me.

It was a difficult pill to swallow, and being a people pleaser, a very hard situation to change. Many times it wasn’t by choice that people were removed from my life. God was going to have His way and if I didn’t remove the people that were not good for me He did. 

Today I strive to be very aware of who I surround myself with on a soul level. While I communicate with many, have friendships with several, I have to recognize that in order to get to where God wants me to go, I have to be persistent in making sure that I surround myself not only with good people, but to find those who are in a place where I want to be. Just like Timothy in the Bible, I need a Paul, or several Paul’s in my life.  If I want to be a strong, loving, faith filled, God seeking person who walks out my faith with audacity then it is imperative that I have those same types of people in my life, influencing me with their words and actions.

I think it is important to mention that we are surrounded by hurting people and everyone is walking their own journey. There was a time when I looked around at the people that I knew and there wasn’t anyone in a place that I wanted to be. They were all struggling just like me. Today, by the Grace of God that is not the case, but finding time in this busy world, to spend time with them, it’s not always easy. Even so, I am determined to put myself into as close of proximity as I can to people who are ALL IN for God.  When I look at my top list of people that today, speak into my life, I can’t help but feel a little silly as many of them are ones I have never met. But it works.  In hopes of this making sense, I’ll list out those that I am purposeful to spend time with on a daily or weekly basis.

First and foremost, is God. I hang out with him daily. Without this relationship, none of the others would matter. Jason Cullum, my Pastor, He is such a strong man of faith and walks his talk.  I have the pleasure of being with him at least twice a week and sometimes more often if I choose to listen to an online sermon. Pastor Jacobi Martin, whose realness and transparency blows me away. I’ve never met him but meet with him weekly as I listen to his sermon on podcast. Joyce Meyer, Beth Moore and Erwin McManus (who I’ve met once) have been pivotal in my walk with The Lord, their obedience to the Lord is what I long for so I listen to them daily through podcast.

The above mentioned people are speaking and acting upon their faith in a way that my heart cries out to do.

While I am extremely blessed with deeply committed friends who follow the Lord in much the same way,  and I get encouraged by them through text, phone call or a luncheon when we get the chance, I am adamant that just like going to church, I don’t want it to be a one time a week thing, and since my beloved friends are not available on a daily basis, then I recognize it is my responsibility to let God lead me to ways of getting what He wants me to have through His Word, My church and podcasts of others who are walking out their faith in the way that I want to walk out mine.

By choosing to hang around with all of these people on purpose, it fills my day with God’s word and fills me up to overflowing.  I pray that it spills out onto others and that they are encouraged to find a Paul, or several and watch how God will use them to change their life.

Rows = Teaching – Circles = Growing

Over the past few months I have had the opportunity to watch this principal in action. Having done the one day event of Battlefield of the Mind back in July, with everyone sitting in rows in my front room as we watched the Joyce Meyer DVD, gleaning truth on how important it is to get our thoughts in alignment with God’s thoughts, then to just a few weeks ago, having the absolute pleasure of sitting in rows with sisters in Christ at my church as we watched the Beth Moore Simulcast. Both events were very powerful and needed. Learning the truth of God’s Word is an absolute must if we are to then take it to the next level. Circles. A few days after the simulcast, I was invited to gather together in circles with sisters for a dessert coffee night. It was a night of great conversation and connection. And just this past Saturday, had the utmost honor to host another Battlefield of the Mind One day event where we had the space to create circles and discussion after each session of the DVD. It was unbelievable amazing the difference this opportunity afforded us.  Our first event, while it was really, REALLY good and at the time, I didn’t think it could get any better, God allowed this go around to be truly life changing. Having the ability to hold table discussions, to watch these women come alive as they talked out what they just heard. As they shared things with each other, shared their fears, spoke out dreams and ways to implement what they just listened to. As they encouraged one another and spoke The Word of God to each other in confidence, I was blown away by the difference circles made.  Yes, rows are an absolute must, but to grow in our faith. To become all that God has created us to be. Circles are an absolute must too. We need both to walk out our faith. I thank God for the opportunity He has given me to encourage others in a circle setting. I praise Him for the possibility of Rows in my future.

God’s best, not 2nd best

There have been so many times in my life I have settled. In relationships, health and in so many other areas. I was willing to sit in my circumstance and believe that there was no other option and that the reality I lived in was all that it ever was going to be. Why do we do this to ourselves?

Speaking from my own experiences, there were several reasons that caused me to live this way.

1. I was afraid of the unknown. While what I was smack dab in the middle of was not exactly what I wanted, it was easier to stay than to remove myself and step into the unforeseen. What if it wasn’t any better? What if what I stepped into was worse? What if I never found the next <fill in the blank>? What if people had unrealistic expectations of me?

2. I was afraid of positive change. I remember at times, dreaming about a positive future and what that could look like but then all I could see surrounding that, were the changes that I would need to make to bring it to pass. What if I failed? What if those around me didn’t support the changes I wanted to make? What would be expected of me, if things were different?

3. I listened to old tapes in my head. I let myself believe that my past defined me. I let the voices of school children from long ago tell me that I wasn’t good enough, smart enough, pretty enough or skinny enough. I let voices from family members remind me that I would be so pretty if I would just lose a little bit of weight. I let every mistake made keep me fearful and believed the voices that told me that to try only means to fail again. I let every failed relationship be a reminder of the imperfect person that I am.

4. I didn’t know my worth in the eyes of the Lord. I let the world define my value. I let fear, insecurity and people pleasing be the driving force in my decisions instead of seeking out God, understanding the truth about who He is and who I am in Him. I settled for second best because I wasn’t fully understanding the truth of God’s word or the unconditional love, grace and redemption that He offered. I allowed my character to be compromised because I wasn’t modeling The One who died on the cross for me. I lost my moral compass because my eyes were fixed on fleshly wants and needs instead of to The One who holds all the answers. I allowed my chaotic thoughts to become actions which became my reality and failed to purposefully think on the truth of The Word and then act upon it.

Yes these are all things that I did that caused me to choose to settle. To settle for less than what God had for me. These days, I am FAR from perfect in these areas but I am getting better. I am no longer willing to settle for many things. Especially when it comes to my relationship with God, relationships with others and my value in those relationships. I finally know who I am IN Him.

My heart hurts when I see young adults or even grown adults, caught in the same insane cycle that held me captive for so long. I become even more certain that the quest God has placed on my heart, to share my testimony, to do this website, to offer hope and encourage others to live the life of freedom that God offers is an absolute MUST!

When I hear stories of the unmarried women around me sharing their heartache, yet choosing to stay in the situation; When I see the pain of betrayal in their eyes yet hear them excuse what was done; When I hear them voice the tapes of their past, refusing to believe it could be different, the depths of my soul cries out “Don’t Settle!” “You’re worth more than that!”

Oh how I long that they will see themselves through God’s eyes.

How I pray that they will recognize the need for God’s perspective instead of their fleshly one.

For those of us who have been there and have seen the triumph of The Lord, never stop sharing the need for God, His Son and the Glorious News of the Gospel.

Our world is filled with hurting people who in turn, hurt others. We have to resolve to pass along the victory to others. To let God’s redemptive power shine hope on the victory waiting for those who are watching. Satan wants nothing more than to stall the wave of hope that our togetherness brings. We have to stand firm in our mission, for our sisters and brothers, our nieces and nephews, our sons and daughters, our grandchildren. Our actions today, impact far into the future.

Never give up.

Keep fighting and trust that God will remove ALL of us from a place of settling for second best, to His glorious best and unending Freedom!

Slave to fear no more

Today I stepped out of fear and into faith.

As you can see from my earlier blog posts, I could feel the continued tug of the Holy Spirit nudging me towards doing the video blog. Last night I went to a CR meeting and was having a conversation with God about my fears of doing a video blog. They are the same fears that I felt back in the day when I was asked to give my testimony the first few times. I had to work through many self-doubts and self-image issues to step foot up in front of people. Over the years, this has become more comfortable. Almost easy, I would say. But in March, the minute my dear friend (and Pastor’s wife) Anne suggested a video blog, I panicked. What would people think? What would they say? I’m nowhere near as small as I’d like to be. I have no idea what I would say, or how it would turn out. I might be pretty good at writing, but speaking? Without reading what I’ve written? Are you kidding me? Whispers and lies from the devil were bombarding me from all sides. So I stalled. I didn’t do anything for a while. Until lately, but still, not the video blog. Anything but the video blog.

A few years ago I attended a leadership conference at my church and it was at the time I was reminded that God had purposed my life to tell my story. He brought back the memory of the day long ago when that woman told me I’d be telling my story one day. I have said before, at that leadership event, I remember sitting in that room, crying as the Holy Spirit gently called my name and whispered “remember” and then, they played the song “I’m No Longer a Slave To Fear” and I cried even more as I knew that it was fear that had been holding me back from being purposeful in sharing my testimony. Sure, I had shared it randomly but from that day forward, I made it a point to reach out to other Celebrate Recoveries and offer to give my testimony. Then came the women’s conference at the church which was such a huge blessing.

These days, I’m giving my testimony as often as the chance arises and of course now I have this website and I am purposeful about passing out my cards and inviting people to view it. But last night, as I sat at my meeting, feeling the fear all over again about this video blog, I was asking God for the courage to just do it. To forget my fears, my insecurities and my doubts and to trust Him. And God, in His amazing love and continued guidance, gave the band one more song to play before we closed out and my knees buckled as the singer got up and said “We serve a mighty God, because of that, We are no longer slaves to fear, let’s sing about that” and they proceeded to play the very song that God used years ago. I may have thought the video blog would come “eventually” but after last night, I knew there was no way I could wait. To wait would be disobedient and I most certainly don’t want that. I have NO IDEA what His plan is for this website, or this video blog but what I do know is, without being faithful and taking the step that He so pointedly showed me yet again, I would be missing out on part of my growth to get me to wherever it is He is wanting me to go. Things may be good now, but I refuse to let fear hold be me back from the best God has for me. I will step up. I will step out and I will step with God, wherever He wants to take me.

Praying that as you join me in this journey, you will find the courage to continue walking with God, even when you are full of fear!

Taking a mental B.A.T.H

Something I learned in my makeup business was how to take a mental BATH every single day. Bookings, Affirmations, Tapes and Hotline. It was very helpful in setting myself up for positive thinking and success.

Today, I’m going to borrow the acrostic, with a few changes, and apply it to where I am today. In doing these things, my eyes are being opened to the Glorious nature of my Heavenly Father. He has shown me that He paid a high price for me and that I belong to Him and because of that, I no longer live by my will, but respond to Him with an open heart and willing spirit.

By taking a mental BATH on a daily basis, it keeps me intensely focused on God and purposeful in my mission of personal ministry.

 B – Bible

A – Apply

T – Transform

H – Hope

 Bible – Studying The Word of the God is a must if I want to grow in Christ. I am absolutely unable to figure myself out if I don’t know who He is. It is imperative that I seek His face through The Word and come to know His character. I am committed to at least 30 minutes a day to not only reading, but studying His word.

Apply – Apply The Truth of His Word to my life. By listening and then taking action on what God speaks from the pages of the Bible, my perception of people and circumstances start to change right before my very eyes. As I take the next step that God puts in front of me, on a daily basis. As I am obedient to Him, on a daily basis, I am built up in Him little by little.

Transform – Allow God’s Word to live and breathe inside of me. Asking God to let it transform me from the inside out as I strive to be less self-centered and to think, act and talk better. Watching as it unfolds through my daily life and with time, stays the course and brings about changes that will break generational chains of bondage.

Hope – By sharing the insights that God reveals and the journey He guides me along, it reinforces my conviction that God is trustworthy and faithful as well as shines a beacon of hope to those who have travelled with me or watched from the sidelines. In walking out my faith publically and being purposefully transparent, it opens up the door for others to do the same.

 Hope is catching. My prayer is God will use the story He continually writes in me to spread an epidemic of Hope through my family, my friends and my community.

Stepping out

The below is a synopsis on how God has led and continues to lead me out of my comfort zone. It seems so incredibly simple listing it out as it is but when I look at the timeline starting in 2003 it amazes me to see what God has been up to, and honestly intrigues me (terrifies me?!) as to where He’s taking me next.

 You would be great selling makeup

Take God as your business partner

If they are within 3 feet of you, make them feel important

Everyone you meet, remember, you might not need them but they might need you

Remind yourself God has a plan and a purpose for your life

Celebrate recovery can change your life

 Give your testimony

Teach a lesson

Lead a group

Repeat

Remind yourself God has a plan and a purpose for your life

 Join the church

Say yes to God

Get involved

Grow

Grow

Grow

Remind yourself God has a plan and a purpose for your life

 Share your story at the women’s conference

Be encouraged to do a video blog

Take a break

Procrastinate

Stall

Remind yourself God has a plan and a purpose for your life

Plan a Bible study

Turn the Bible study into a one day event

Decide to do a personal ministry website with a written blog

Share

Plan another one day event

Remind yourself God has a plan and a purpose for your life

Pray for direction on how to do the video blog

List Video Blog coming soon on the website

Talking to myself on purpose

Words are powerful.  When God created the universe, He SPOKE it into existence. And He created us in His image.

The words we speak can bring about life or death. 

 Proverbs 18:21 (NIV)

21 The tongue has the power of life and death,

and those who love it will eat its fruit.

 I am desperate to speak life!

 I spent many years in a chaotic mess because of the words that came out of my mouth due to the thoughts I would allow myself to think.  I told myself I wasn’t good enough, pretty enough, skinny enough, or smart enough. I claimed my circumstances as though they always would be. I told myself I would never find someone to love me, I would never have good friends, I would never have money, I would never escape the fear that surrounded me.  I believed the lies of the devil and let him continually remind me that I wasn’t perfect, that I made mistakes and that I was beyond having good things happen to me. 

It took time and a commitment to purposefully change how I thought and spoke but I finally SILENCED the father of lies and began listening to what my Heavenly Father said about me. 

I began to speak out His Word by Faith and claim the promises that He had for me.

I began claiming my identity in Him in thought and speech. Reminding myself I am a daughter of The King. That He has good things in store for me and that He has a purpose and a plan for my life, to take me from where I had been into His FREEDOM.

I started waking up and asking Him for blessings on my day. Reminding myself moment by moment that He loved me and would not forsake me.

I stopped complaining about the things that I felt were going wrong and started speaking about the things that were going right.  

I stopped destroying my life with my own words and began letting the words of God’s truth pour over me.

 This has taken time but it has changed my life. Understanding that my thoughts become words and my words become my reality.  I’ve come to realize that I can’t live above my confession and unless my confession comes from the Word of God, I will stay in the chaos of unrest.

9 seconds can change everything

There are days I struggle with thinking right thoughts about others. Even with all the growth that I’ve experienced and the grace that God pours out on me, I have found myself unable to stop mentally berating a co worker, or chastising a hurting friend with thoughts of how they could do things differently.

While the words I spoke out were as encouraging as possible, the thoughts still lingered behind the scenes.

Please know that these thoughts aren’t what most people would consider horrible. It’s things like “well bless his heart, if only he could see that what he did last night is why he is feeling so bad today” or “if only she could see her part in this, she would understand why her life is in chaos”… But in this latest season of my journey I have been praying that God remove even the smallest character defect. I want His heart. His thoughts towards people. His Grace in ALL things. Even the smallest, tiniest negative, controlling thought.

 In asking God for this, a few months ago I found myself thinking those thoughts once again with a friend. Feeling her pain yet frustrated at her actions which I promptly began thinking of things she should be doing.  

Having just finished an encouraging text message to her, trying to lift her up, I found myself allowing my thoughts free reign as I discussed with a family member my personal thoughts on the situation. 

 Unbeknownst to me, somehow my phone started recording the conversation and for 9 seconds, captured forever, the lack of patience and understanding spilling from my lips. And before I knew it, my friend received the text message with the recording.

 I immediately called her to apologize and to explain the context of what was said and while at the time she hadn’t even listened to the recording yet, and even once she did, she was filled with grace as she always is and our friendship remains strong by the grace of God. 

 Having that happen and having to experience the pain of knowing that even the smallest thought could potentially ruin a relationship, I was reminded that God disciplines His children. I asked Him for His help and He gave it to me by reprimanding me.  A friend of mine says “you were spanked by God” and she was so right. And I am forever grateful.

Today I try to hold onto that lesson and any time I begin to even think like that, about anyone I ask myself, if 9 seconds of these thoughts were recorded and given out, how would that affect the person and would God be pleased?

Praising Him that He loves me enough to take away ALL things that can detract from my purpose He has for me. Praying that I continue to see His discipline as loving guidance and continue to strive to be the person He is calling me to be.

Hebrews 12:11 (NIV)

11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Believing The Word

This is my Bible.

I am what it says I am.

I have what it says I have.

I can do what it says I can do.

Today, I will be taught the Word of God. I boldly confess:

My mind is alert, My heart is receptive.

I will never be the same.

In Jesus name. Amen.

 I remember watching Joel O’Steen during some of the darkest times of my life. I would hear him say the above words at the beginning of his talk and while I really enjoyed saying it with him, I am just now coming to understand the power of that proclamation. 

Today, as I strive to not only believe IN God, but wholly turn my heart to BELIEVING God, these words mean so much to me every morning as I pick my bible and begin my morning study time.

Coming to understand that the words of the Bible are true. That the promises are true and available to me, has been life changing . 

I pray that today, as you find time to spend in The Word, that you will be convinced that when you boldly approach God with an alert mind and a receptive heart, believing that you are what the bible says you are, that you can do what He says you can do and that as you are taught The Word of God, you will never be the same.  In Jesus’ Name!

It takes time

2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV)

14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

 Over the past few days I’ve been asking God to shine light on to His Word as I continue my journey in understanding more about who He is and who I am in Him.

And not only who I am in Him, but asking Him to show me His love and grace for all of us who acknowledge His presence in our lives even in the midst of less than perfect choices of word, thought and deed.

 This morning in my quiet time as I began to break down the above verse, I was instantly reminded that in the beginning when we cried out and asked Christ into our lives, it truly was only the beginning of the journey.

I love that as I began to define specific words, God reminded me again and again that He does not expect perfection and that to become the person He wants us to be takes time.

In reviewing the definitions below we can see that making the attempt and having the desire to obtain (more of God) is how it begins. Yet it is only the beginning. We are told to turn from our sinful ways, however that too, takes time. It is not instantaneous. At least for me it wasn’t. When I think of moving in a circular motion, I can’t help but picture my phone as I download music -the image of that little circle, filling up, with what seems like ever increasing slowness. That’s how my journey has been and still continues to be. My turning is done in a slow, ever curving way. One of the things that I love about God’s beautiful faithfulness is during this process He loves me unconditionally, He forgives me and pours out blessings on me (and heals the land) through it all.

God is asking us to make the attempt, to put forth some effort to get to know His Son and when we do that He will begin to turn our hearts towards Him, guiding us through a beautiful journey of Grace as He transforms us from the inside out.

 seek

sēk/

verb

attempt to find (something).”they came here to seek shelter from biting winter winds”

synonyms

search for, try to find, look for, be on the lookout for, be after, hunt for, be in quest of

“they sought shelter from the winter snows”

attempt or desire to obtain or achieve (something).”the new regime sought his extradition”

synonyms:

try to obtain, work toward, be intent on, aim at/for More

ask for (something) from someone.”he sought help from the police”

synonyms:

ask for, request, solicit, call for, entreat, beg for, petition for, appeal for, apply for, put in for “he sought help from the police”

 at·tempt

əˈtem(p)t/

verb

1.

make an effort to achieve or complete (something, typically a difficult task or action).”she attempted a comeback in 1989″

synonyms:

try, strive, aim, venture, endeavor, seek, undertake, make an effort; More

 quest

kwest/

noun

1.

a long or arduous search for something.

 turn

tərn/

verb

verb: turn; 3rd person present: turns; past tense: turned; past participle: turned; gerund or present participle: turning

1.

move or cause to move in a circular direction wholly or partly around an axis or point.

2. change in nature, state, form, or color; become.

“Emmeline turned pale”

synonyms:

become, develop into, turn out to be; be transformed into, metamorphose into, descend into, grow into

“their honeymoon turned into a nightmare”

become, go, grow, get

“Emma turned red”

convert, change, transform, make;

adapt, modify, rebuild, reconstruct

“he turned the house into apartments”

IN The Lord

So many times the encouragement has been “be strong in the Lord” but what I found was that I usually took it to mean -I can do this, I’ve got this, I can do anything… yes I know He’s with me, yes I know He can do all things…but somehow I missed the point of IN the Lord … if I am not IN Him – meaning, IN the word, IN the truth of the Bible, purposefully aligning my thoughts to His, learning His Word, studying and growing IN His Word, then I am just being strong in myself.